Susan Worthington and her mother, Frances Sexton, founded The Southern Market more than two decades ago with the vision of creating an upscale interiors market that showcased local vendors featuring strictly stylish merchandise. With more than 200 current vendors, Worthington added that The Southern Market offers a variety of products that range from home decor, gifts, boutique fashions, and art. We are always looking to enhance our market with exceptional new merchants and makers.
“We pioneered a new breed of marketplace in an era of antique and craft only malls” said Worthington. “Neither Knoxville - nor any Southern city we visited for that matter - had anything like us at the time.” They traveled more than 20,000 miles throughout the Southeast hand selecting their first merchants over several years. They built their building entirely for this concept as well.
Having built this Knoxville staple and entrepreneurial legacy literally from the ground up and on the pages of Veranda magazine before they ever opened, these ladies were destined for success. Decades later, The Southern Market, located at 5400 Homberg Drive, is still going strong winning Best Gift Shop and Best Interior Design by Knoxvillians year after year, and celebrated its 25th year in business November 2021.
Worthington says the market’s lengthy success is a result of its focus on recruiting quality, small businesses from the local community, servicing those businesses’ needs, and garnering mutually successfully relationships that last for many years. We aim to minimize turnover and maximize our merchants’ successes.
“Southern Market has been promoting ‘shop local’ for 25 years,” she said. “Shop Local is not new to us. We have loved and embraced shopping local and small businesses since 1996. We are small business. We are shopping. We are local. Come shop local at Southern Market. For those not local, come see what beauty awaits you in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.”